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Andy

Why do we do this?

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Andy

Just watched Blackadder Goes Forth again on Sky. The last few minutes still makes me sit down and think....and shudder.

Which brings me on to an even deeper thought...Why do we do this?

By this I mean why do we always go out to Belgium and France (sometimes even further)?

Why do we watch everthing relating to WW1 on the tv?

Why do we buy all the books we can find about WW1?

Why do we stand rigid at the Menin Gate at 8pm?

Why do we find this subject so interesting?

I know that most of my family and workmates think that I am slightly off balance when I announce we are going to look at CWGC cemeteries and battlefields for our holidays, but I can't keep away.

I'd like to know what drives other Pals.

Andy Fitton.

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salientpoints

You know I often ask myself the same thing. I cannot answer that or put a finger on it. My partner likes to come too and she really enjoys telling her work colleagues about our trips and they sometimes look at us quite strangely!

Who knows what drives the minds of men?

Maybe it is this unidentifiable force that also was the power behind those who were there...

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John_Hartley

Andy

I could give you a really deeply considered answer here about having a desire to ensure local men who gaves their lives are not forgotten. Or I just have sense of history. Or a number of other things that, no doubt, others will post.

Or, I could say that it just grew on me. And I get the funny looks, as well, from friends and colleagues. Even my wife tends to tell people that I'm off somewhere "looking for dead people".

But will you settle for the knowledge that I don't collect stamps and I'm not a train or plane spotter. But I do have an anorak. Enough said?

John ;)

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Matt Dixon

Why do we do it?

I think my long suffering wife has been asking this for a while. Indeed our honeymoon was spent on two glorious weeks in France. I picked the iternary for the first week, wifey the second.

I doubt there are many new brides who have tramped through Delville Wood in wellies in the rain............

Should she come across this post by any chance, I assure you that all the parcels that keep arriving are Christmas presents for you dearest, and most definately not cap badges from ebay! :ph34r:

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Steve_McGarry
Even my wife tends to tell people that I'm off somewhere "looking for dead people".

Glad I'm not the only one then... ;)

I think it varies from person to person... but for me its the not quite grasping the reality of what happened all those years ago... and thinking it may all one day make sense ... if I visit one more site, read one more book..etc knowing all the while it never will because you had to be their to really understand.

Interestingly though when you start talking to people about the places you've visited and the stories of great sacrifice that those places are associated with.. Its suprising how many people have come back and told me they have been and visited great grandads grave etc.. a co worker went to Arras only the other week and took her husband around the sites I had told her about.... :D

Of course you still get the person who's eyes you can visibly see glaze over as you begin to tell your tale... now't a queer as folk as we say in Kent!

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Will O'Brien

For me it has become somewhat of an obsession (or a labour of love if that makes me sound less like a Muppet) which quite frankly is on ocassion difficult to control & if I'm honest I don't have much inclination to curb it.

I am hesitant to use the word in case in seems inappropriate but firstly I 'enjoy' it. I enjoy doing the research of my local memorials, I enjoy learning about these people as individuals. I enjoy wandering through local cemeteries hunting for CWGC headstones. The books, documentaries and this forum feed my need to gain more knowledge & a better understanding of it.......I suppose I would call it a 'need to know'

I am sure it is the same for many Pals on the forum, that there is one specific catalyst which triggers 'what we do & why we do this'. For me the catalyst was a very personal need to remember one man.

That man being he who appears on my signature. It is not simply a case of Harry Ingram being a relative who died half a century before I was even born. There is what I can only describe as a bond between him and me (which for personal reasons I shan't go into....and just in case we have a resident Psychiatrist on the forum who would probably see it as an opportunity to analyse me to death :lol: ). However I will say that part of my need to remember is because without Harry Ingram's death I may never have lived. When Harry died, his younger brother, my Grandfather who was fifteen was serving under age in the navy. My Great Grandmother, devastated at the loss of her eldest son & determined not to lose her other informed on him & my Grandfather was discharged without even completing his training. The war ended less than one month before he was eligible for conscription. Under different circumstances and without Harry’s death it may have been my Grandfathers name listed on a memorial.

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Ralph J. Whitehead

I too have often wondered why I love the study of the war so much. In part it is an attempt to try and understand the experiences of the ordinary men who served, in part to understrand the history of the period in a manner not covered in ordinary history classes or talks.

I will probably never know the reason why if it comes down to it. Fortunately my wife allowed me two trips to France and Belgium without her and I asure you that I am paying for it with a high rate of interest. But these trips made the years of research take on a whole new meaning and just reinforced my desire to study the war.

The looks I got on my first trip when the customs official asked my reason for visiting, who I was meeting and where was I staying. When I told him I was going to France that day and the 3 men I was meeting I had met through the internet and never in person you would have thought he was going to call security. When I explained the purpose of the trip his eyes just glazed over and away I went with the official customs stamp.

My friends at work simply accept that I am a bit odd from my cemetery walks and WWI research (fortunately I am the boss) and my wife has enough similar interests that cross over mine that we both get a great deal from our trips.

Now that I look over what I have written I know that I am no closer to understanding the reason than before, I guess it is just that I like it and no more.

Ralph

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ianw

If you like a good story - there are a million of them. If you like to regard the sweep of human history - well it happened here, you can walk among the Dead and the places that they made immortal. If you crave peace in your life - perhaps paradoxically ,you can find it here. If you like to question and think - you sometimes may get the hint of an answer and often a surprise and another avenue opened.

A lifetime of interest for those who catch the "Great War" bug. No need for further explanation. Where's that phone number for P&O ?

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Andy

Interesting replies Pals.

I knew I was not the only one out there who feels like this.

We are off to Whitby later today for the weekend. You may wonder why we picked Whitby, but it's where the hospital ship Rohilla sank in Oct 1914, taking 12 good men from my local town with her. Although Wendy shares my passiom for WW1, there still is a compromise....Rohilla Saturday, Heartbeat country Sunday

Regards, Andy.

PS John, I've seen the anorak!

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gem22

For some time I thought I was the only nut case in the world and then I happened on a web site run by an American called Ed Lengl. I realised then that I was not alone and then, lo and behold, I found this web site and the world is populated by people like me.

Oh! Happy days.

I cannot really explain what drives me to read more and more about the Great War but if you take all the above replies and distill them, then I guess that's me; but I do not have an anorak and I couldn't tell one divisional sign from another.

So what if people at work think I'm strange to spend my holidays walking around cemeteries, memorials, and battlefields. As long as my wife will either come with me or put up with it I will continue to do so; until I find the answer to the question.

What is the question?

I haven't formulated that one yet, but maybe oneday.

Garth

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uncle bill

Because it's a passion and one should never have to justify passion.

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Fleur
Because it's a passion and one should never have to justify passion.

Hear, Hear!

I couldn't agree more

Fleur

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trenchwalker

well i was going to say its all because we are all mad as a box of frogs

but seriously i have been intrested in the great war half opof my life now and i dont regret a moment of it. I still live a normal life there nothing wrong with having a intrestin the great war.

it when you meet people who make it their live except people who do it for a living.

it like with this whole re enacting thing there are certain period you have to worry about especially the german ww2 reenactors.

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Fleur
it like with this whole re enacting thing there are certain period you have to worry about especially the german ww2 reenactors.

Honey, I don't know about that.

I think that if you are going to have re-enactments then you have to have all sides covered - no good only have people re-enacting the side that 'won'.

The guys that do the german stuff are just as legitimate as you or as anyone else performing re-enactments.

As close as you come to it being the real thing, it is still fantasy and make believe.

I do understand that some people make it their lives - and fair play to them if that is how they wish to live.

If you are going to have WWII tommy's, yanks and the such like, you got have the German armies represented as well.

Just my opinion (for waht it's worth)

Fleur

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healdav

If you have never been or never heard of it, can I suggest you go to CONNAISSANCEDELAMEUSE website and find out about the commemoration son et lumière of the Verdun battles (every June and July).

I can guarantee that it will make your hair stand on end, and when the guns start firing you will have your hands over your ears and still be shaking as the stand bounces up and down.

It really is amazing.

If its raining you get wet.

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trenchwalker

fluer fluer fluer you have it all wrong i porteay ww1 british and GERMAN.

But if you ever go to a muliperiod event or ask john in the shell hole in ypre.

most of the ww2 german reenactors are a good lot.

but there are a couple who take there hobby to far.

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j.r.f

PALS

I to thought I was on my own.Terry Denham directed me to this site when I was asking him obout ww1 graves.That was it.I am now a 61 year old born again.I had retired from teaching,with a nervous breakdown,and was wandering aimlessly through life.I started by looking at my churches memorial and this really switched me on.

I now find that if I want to be on my own ,that there is lots of research to do.If I just want to read there are lots and lots of books.I am begining to get an insight into the lives of my grandfathers who served and servived the Great War and also their brothers and cousins.Who did not.

I joined the local branch of the WFA and there I met people who I can now call my friends.I have become a reader at the National Archive.Boy thats exiting.Icould go on and on.

The warmth and friendship of the people that are,like me,first world war anoracs is truely marvelous.

The warning is that ww1 will change your life for the better for ever.The only very sad part is that so many had to die and had to live in hell.One of my grandfathers was picking shrapnell out of his legs until the day he died 60 years latter.

This does not even begin to explain why I am a ww1 anorac.

Thanks for listening pals.

JOHN. :D

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Guest Hill 60
Because it's a passion and one should never have to justify passion.

Couldn't agree more!

If, today, I was told that I could not have anything to do with the Great War I would be totally lost :(

OK, I have other interests (in varying degrees) such as the history of the London Fire Brigade, collecting fire helmets, the 1745 Jacobite uprising etc but none of them grip my interest and imagination as the Great War does.

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Steven Wright

This is a really fascinating thread!

I, too, couldn't agree more that one shouldn't have to justify a passion. And like many of you, my catalyst for all of this is one person: my grandfather, upon whose knee I would sit as a little boy for hours and listen to the same stories of the war over and over again.

Among the things that I truly love about the WFA and this forum is the sharing and camardarie that one experiences with like minded people.

Cheers!

SJW

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Fleur

I have found that, over the years, our enthusiasm for our subject has enthused many of our freinds which is great.

Especialy when they choose to read books about the great was or watch programmes about it and then ask us stuff about it afterwards.

Fleur

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KIRKY

I do not know why I am so interested in WW1 ( Somme area in particular)

Many people have said it is because I was there in a previous life.

My Grandfather was in France in BEF from 14 to 18 so may be a connection.

I only know that when I am on The Somme I feel totally at rest and peace and feel I belong there! I will never get tired of the place and can think of no better place to consider my lot.

I took my wife and son there in October and although she has not caught the bug, understands a bit more now. My son is however, hooked! (great)

Tony

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burlington

I suppose I do 'it' now because I at last have the opportunity- financial and domestic- to pursue a subject that has interested me for a long time.

Also, if we don't do 'it' who will.

Will the memory of the dead, and how they died, be consigned to oblivion, very much as those from earlier wars?

Or is this all too maudlin?

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Andy Shaw

'My Name is Andy Shaw and I am A Great War Buff' :ph34r:

Is it addictive? Do I need counseling? What better place to get it but here with all my Pals.

I found my interest in WW1 worrying at times; you know the signs... the dread of the postman’s knock delivering another book or medal, being asked why so many business expense lunches with messes ebay & speedbid. Being told by my beloved 'Don't you dare mention the war' but who has now has expressed an interest in traveling to Ypres, because so many people that we meet are actually interested and she would like to know more.

But.. More than that, the understanding of the sacrifices that were made by all sides, the researching of why and how events happened but most of all remembering that so many went to war and did not return.

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Sue Light

The War will be remembered - the men will be forgotten.

I do it for the men.

Sue

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armourersergeant

Why do we do it? Jesus what a question!

When i was young i was fascinated by Military history and war in general, sick monster i hear you call and yes probably i was led on by the percieved heroics of it. But I learnt very quickly that there is no heroics in war and thus i studied out of pure interest. the why, How, where ? questions that made me delve further and want to learn what makes peoples fight over and over again.

I am an avid Military history buff of all ages and also at the moment am delving into ancient greek history but WW1 has had a hold on me for over twenty years. The reason? Because there is so much that is not really known by the masses, and what is known is submerged and covered in myths and mis-truths. 1914-18 is in my opinion a cross roads of War, when the last vestages of the heroic soldier died and the reality of death and suffering in war were realised by the masses.

The real reason.................Lest we forget................If we forget then we run the risk of it happening again because we forgot what it was like.

IMO History should be a compulsury subject taught at all levels in school, when i take on peolpe at work when asked if they know who Hitler was and they answer by saying .."Ye didnt he have something to do with a war" I worry for the future.

Except of course when i see the forum and all it stands for.

Arm.

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